Whenever I travel to a new place, I look for local restaurants and businesses. In particular, I look for local yarn shops. It’s exciting when I find a yarn shop hop, or yarn crawl, or even a brochure listing area shops.
Before my late summer road trip to Asheville, North Carolina and along the Blue Ridge Parkway, I had very little time to research the area’s yarn shops. Luckily, I had some help. My daughter had an hour or so at her work when the network was down, so as she waited (unable to work) she looked for yarn shops for me.
Another help was the brochure I found in the tourist information rack at the hotel where I stayed. It listed twelve shops within the Asheville area -some near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
As I relaxed in the hotel after driving to the area, I planned out my trip to visit as many shops as possible. Unfortunately, I ran out of time to visit all of them, but I’m planning to return to the area later and will check them out then.
On the Way to Asheville, I Stopped at:
Tia Dana is located in Waynesville, North Carolina. It carries yarn from all the national brands, but also has yarn by local dyers. The locally dyed yarn was beautiful, although I couldn’t decide on colors and ended up passing on it. I’d like to go back when I have a project in mind.
There were several store samples – many of the patterns I noted for future use. The pleasant salesclerk showed off a recently finished shawl – I am now working on a shawl in that pattern.
One negative – their website has almost no information and they do not offer online ordering of yarn.
In Asheville, I Visited:
I didn’t know what to expect when I visited Earth Guild, but it was not like any yarn store I’ve ever been in. The store, in Downtown Asheville, felt like it used to be a Ben Franklin – with odds and ends of craft supplies. It does, in fact, cater to several crafts in addition to knitting.
The store had some nice yarn, but the selections seemed random. The cones pictured are Dragon Tale yarns – Earth Guild’s specialty. The store’s website, although dated, is complete, listing hundreds of items that can be ordered. Discounts are given for large orders.
Purl’s Yarn Emporium is a fun, eclectic yarn shop, also in Downtown Asheville. Of all the downtown shops, this one seemed to be where knitters would gather. The were a couple comfy couches in the center of the store for relaxing and knitting. Yarn and store samples filled the walls. I was impressed by the amount of locally milled and dyed yarns (see their website) and purchased a skein of sock yarn dyed in-house.
The last shop I visited in the downtown area was Asheville NC Home Crafts. Located (hidden) in the Grove Arcade, the store specializes in local homemade items – including fantastic hats!
One room of the store holds a variety of yarn, displayed by color instead of type. There was a nice selection of locally hand spun and hand dyed yarns.
…And These Shops within an Hour of Asheville:
The sign on the front of Friends and Fiberworks says “Epic Yarn Shop.” Epic is a good word to describe this large shop. I don’t think there is a well-known yarn brand that the shop doesn’t carry. They also carry locally dyed yarns, including some that are dyed in-house. I couldn’t resist purchasing some.
The sales people working when I was there were very helpful, showing me around and answering questions. A group of knitters sat in a circle chatting and knitting. It was all you would ever want in a yarn shop.
Their website lists nearly 3000 items – yarn, tools, and accessories. Although I haven’t ordered from them, it looks like the process would be easy.
Black Mountain Yarn Shop in Black Mountain, North Carolina, was another great shop. Their website says they are warm and welcoming, and I think those words describe it perfectly. A bright, neat store, it felt comfortable from the minute I walked in.
Black Mountain Yarn Shop carries a long list of fibers but the ones that impressed me most were the ones I had not heard of before – miss lamotte (South Africa), Garn Stories (Germany), and tot le matin (France). Although specifics are not listed on their website, they are happy to fill your called-in or emailed order.
I also visited the Echoview Fiber Mill, a working mill with a small retail corner. I would have liked to see it in action, but the day I visited, not much was happening. Most of the yarn produced in the mill is worsted, sport, or DK weights.
The yarn is produced and then dyed using natural botanical dyes. The retail corner also sells supplies for natural dying. Yarn and other products are available online.
Then, Further up the Parkway:
Yummi Yarns is a small yarn shop in an old, but updated building in Burnsville, North Carolina. Most of the yarn carried in the shop is cotton or cotton blends – but they have chosen the most beautiful.
The salesclerk was friendly – she excitedly showed me the new stock that had just arrived. There was a sitting area that welcomed knitters to chat while working on their latest projects.
The store’s one-page website lists products, but no online ordering is available.
Unwound Yarn in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, was my last stop near the end of the day. I was impressed by their large selection of yarn and beautiful store samples. Apparently, I was so mesmerized that I forgot to take pictures.
As I shopped, the clerk was finishing her version of Butterfly/Papillon, a butterfly-shaped shawl. She showed me another sample of the same shawl on display in the shop. I couldn’t leave without purchasing yarn to make one myself.
The shop’s website has nice pictures and a lot of information about the shop, but there is no option for online shopping.
In Roanoke, I Shopped at:
On my second day traveling on the Parkway, I began my day near Roanoke, Virginia. I stopped at the two stores in the city before I headed out. Yarn Explosion was located in a converted house, with each room displaying a different weight of yarn. There were so many different yarns, it would have been hard to choose.
Right inside the door, though, was a display of specially dyed yarn by Mountain Colors in a Blue Ridge colorway. Of course, I had to have some. I happened to visit during their anniversary sale, and was able to save a bit on the yarn I purchased. The staff was helpful and super friendly – even offering me anniversary cupcakes.
This shop has one negative point in that their website is poor. The class list has not been updated and the yarn list is incomplete. Online purchasing is not available.
Wool Workshop is also located in the city of Roanoke, Virginia. Although the shop is small, the yarn it carries is exquisite.
The shop stocks several well-known brands, plus a good selection of local hand-dyed yarns. The shop also sells tools and some cute accessories. Yarn, tools and accessories are all available for purchase online.
On the North End of My Blue Ridge Journey:
The last shop I visited before leaving the Parkway and continuing on my way was That Yarn Shop in Fishersville, Virginia. The shop was small, but the salesclerk, whom I believe was the owner, was especially nice. She carried some locally dyed yarn – dyed by someone she works with often.
The yarn I purchased had been dyed for a recent shop hop. When the owner heard that I was from out of town and wouldn’t have been able to do the hop, she offered me the yarn at a discount. I already have a project in mind.
That Yarn Shop does not have a website, but the contact information is available online.
The Shops I Missed:
The Wool Room is located southeast of Asheville, and Silver Thread and Golden Needles is southwest of Asheville – areas I didn’t get to on this trip. OSuzannah’s Yarn on Union is east of Asheville – too far east for me to get to this time. These three shops were listed in the Yarn Trail brochure.
As I’ve searched again now, I see even more yarn shops in and around Asheville and near the Blue Ridge Parkway. I’m looking forward to my next trip.
Have you traveled to this area? Do you live there? If you are familiar with yarn shops in the area that I haven’t listed, please tell me about them so I don’t miss them next time.
Anytime you find a great shop, share the details with me so I can check it out. I might even plan a trip around it.